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Moscow Mayor Publicly Admits He Limited the Right of Gays to Freedom of Expression
Offers homosexuals to “entertain themselves” but “not on
MOSCOW, December 10, 2008 (GayRussia.ru) — Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said today that representatives of sexual minorities would be welcomed in Moscow for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
But, the Interfax news agency reported, the Mayor warned gays to go no further than entertainment.
He was speaking at a press conference following the handing over of symbolic keys to Eurovision officials.
“The law of 1993 does not prosecute sexual minorities, they are free,’ Mayor Luzhkov said.
“We do not allow gay parades. When we talk about inclinations of sexual minorities, it’s ok — grasp your interests as you like.”
Mayor Luzhkov, who banned human rights marches of gay prides in Russia’s capital for three years and is considered one of the most homophobic politicians in Russia, said that the Moscow authorities will continue to ban public actions of sexual minorities.
“Entertain yourself, no problem, but not on the streets, squares, marches and demonstrations,” he stressed.
“We never introduced any limitations on them, except public actions.”
Organiser of Moscow Gay Pride Nikolai Alekseev reacted immediately to the words of Moscow Mayor, confirming that Gay Pride will go ahead during the Eurovision contest.
“We are not going to surrender our right to freedom of assembly and expression because it is given to us not by Mayor Luzhkov but by the Constitution on this country.
“I will be shocked if thes words of the Moscow Mayor do not lead to any reaction from theGeneral Secretary of the Council of Europe and Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.
“I can not believe that officials in Strasbourg will continue to silently accept these and future breaches of the European Convention on the part of Russian officials.
“The time for press-releases and statements is over.
“It is time for effective action. European Convention and its interpretation by the European Court of Human Rights is very clear that we have the right to peaceful assembly. Those, who do not agree with that, should be the ones responsible.
“It is very dangerous for the Moscow Mayor to travel to those European capitals where gays can freely organise their public events on the streets. We are going to solve this problem for him and put an issue of the ban on his travels to EU countries in the European Parliament.”
Press conference today took place after the ceremony of handing over the keys of Eurovision with the participation of Mr. Luzhkov and the Mayor of Belgrade Dragan Dilas.
The ceremony took place in the famous Moscow shop "GUM" located at the Red Square.
Eurovision Song contest will take place in Moscow in May next year thanks to
the Russian singer Dima Bilan who won the contest in Belgrade in May. Semi
finals are scheduled for 12 and 14 May and the final will take place on 16
May. The same day Russian and Belarusian gay activists are planning to hold
their Slavic Pride in Moscow.
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